Citizens’ Initiative Review Releases Analysis of Measure 85

Today in Salem, after a week of intensive deliberation, citizen participants in the legislatively-approved Citizens' Initiative Review released their findings on Measure 85, recommending 19 to 5 that Oregon voters support the initiative which would redirect the corporate income tax kicker refunds to K-12 education.

For more information, see the full preliminary report. More highlights to come.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 10, 2012

 Citizens’ Initiative Review Releases Analysis of Measure 85

Panel recommends voters redirect the corporate income tax kicker refunds to K-12 education

Salem – The Citizens’ Initiative Review panel on Measure 85 today released their findings, recommending 19 to 5 that Oregon voters support the initiative, following a week of in-depth evaluation and discussions.

“After hearing from numerous advocates and experts, deliberating extensively and agreeing on the key issues surrounding the measure, the majority of participants concluded that Oregonians should vote yes on Measure 85,” said panelist Kathy Cooney of Beaverton. “But regardless of how each of us voted, we all agree that our key findings will provide critical information to help Oregonians in their own deliberations.”

The work of the panel will be published in the fall voters’ pamphlet statement that is mailed to all Oregon voters. This Citizens’ Statement will include the position and reasoning taken by both the majority and minority of the panelists, as well as key findings and policy considerations that the participants felt were valuable to voters.

Measure 85 would amend the Oregon Constitution to redirect the corporate income tax kicker refunds to K-12 public education. Among the panel’s key findings were:

  • The corporate kicker funds are not guaranteed to increase K-12 funding because of the Legislature’s discretionary spending of the General Fund. The ballot measure earmarks the corporate kicker to fund K-12 education, but does not prevent the redirecting of current funding resources to other non-education budgets.
  • The corporate kicker has had no effect on the stability of Oregon revenue due to its unreliability.
  • The corporate kicker has the potential to stabilize State spending by introducing unexpected revenues to fill in funding gaps. (Oregon Office of Economic Analysis)
  • There is no evidence that the corporate kicker benefits or harms corporations.

The Citizens’ Initiative Review is an innovative model being pioneered in Oregon to publicly evaluate ballot measures to provide voters with clear, useful, and trustworthy information at election time.  The first 2012 panel met from August 6 to 10 at the Salem Convention Center and a second panel will meet August 20 to 24 in Portland to review Measure 82, which would authorize the creation of privately-owned casinos.

“Being a member of the panel gave me a chance to sit down with regular folks like myself and have an honest, thoughtful discussion about the future of our state. This was a refreshing change from the influence of media and sound bite politics we are bombarded with daily,” said Phoenix resident Terry Helfrich. “It was a privilege to be a part of this important effort to educate voters and empower citizens in our initiative process.”

The Review panel was comprised of 24 registered voters from across the state. Participants were selected using a random sample to ensure they reflected the demographic diversity of the Oregon electorate. During the five-day event, proponents and opponents of Ballot Measure 85 presented their arguments to the panel, background witnesses provided additional testimony at the panelists’ request, and the panelists deliberated over the merits of the ballot measure.

The Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission was established by an act of the Oregon Legislature in 2011. The Citizens’ Initiative Review and Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission is funded entirely by contributions from charitable foundations and individual donations.  No state dollars go to support the work of the CIR Commission.  Law prohibits the CIR Commission from accepting contributions from corporate or union treasuries.

For additional information about the Citizens’ Initiative Review process, the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission, or the convener of the 2012 CIRs, Healthy Democracy, please see:

Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission: www.Oregon.gov/CIRC

Healthy Democracy & background of the CIR: www.healthydemocracy.org

####